Fruits, Vegetables, and the Fall of Man…and Bacon.

rainbow of vegitation A good friend posted a link to an answer to the ultimate question: What makes a fruit, and what makes a veggie?  The answer from Wisegeek was:

Simply put, a fruit is the ovary of a plant, which means that it may contain seeds, while a vegetable is a plant part, which does not contain seeds, although some vegetables may be used in plant reproduction.

So, scientifically, seeds make a fruit.  But, that’s not the case, culinary-wise  or even grocery store-wise, let alone in our day-to-day classifications, which tend to demarcate the two along the lines of savory (veggies) vs. sweet (fruit).

And classically, this seems to be the way people demarcated things too, meaning that perhaps even God himself thinks of tomatoes as veggies.

Don’t believe me?  Consider the following.

In Genesis 1 and 2, we are given two accounts of creation that are harmonious but different.  However, in Genesis 1:29, God explicitly states “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food,” [lit: “kol eseb zara zera“, or “every plant yeilding seed.”].  And in Genesis 2:16 has God tell the man that “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden.”  Last time I checked, veggies don’t grow on trees, whether you’re meaning the culinary-definition or the scientific definition.

However, after “the fall” in Genesis 3, man suffers this curse: “you will eat the plants of the field.” [lit: “eseb sadeh,” or “herb, herbage, grass, green plants”]. (Gen 3:18)

So the fall of man (1) shatters man’s relation with God, from whom he and the woman hide; and (2) it shatters the relationship between man and women, who are now “naked and with shame,” (cf. Gen 2:25, when they’re naked without shame; and then Gen 3:7, 7 verses later, when they see that they are naked and move to cover themselves) since the know “know” good and evil (The serpent in Genesis 3:5 uses the term “yada” for “to know”, and we see this same term used in Genesis 4:1, to denote Adam “knowing” his wife in such a way that she bears him a son, Seth (as in, the two becoming one, cf:  “will become one flesh” in Genesis 2:24).

But this fall also (3) forces vegetables upon the man.  And I find that humorous.

Now, I like vegetables, and I’m not saying they’re punishment.  In fact, I often crave them, when prepared correctly.  But there is an interesting bit of physical poetry in all of this, the sweetness of the garden and the bitterness of the fall.

It’s interesting the further disharmony that follows Noah, at which point a “dread fear” of man falls upon the animals, and the eating of them is officially sanctioned in addition to the plants of the field:

Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.  (Gen 9:3)

Later, of course, for a time (from the Levitical code through the time of Christ), some animals will be forbidden.  But after Christ announces that “it is not what goes into a man’s mouth that makes him unclean but what comes out [of his heart]” (Matt 15:11).

Food is very important, Biblically.  It is more than mere fact, but it is an analogy that describes man.  It describes also man’s status in life.

And that is why only in the time of “the new, and everlasting covenant” does man get to licitly taste the goodness of bacon.



Thoughts?  Sound off in the comments below if you love bacon!

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